2022 is a perfect time to consider a move to Portugal from India.
And why not, because Portugal is rapidly becoming one of Europe’s most popular relocation destinations.
This small Atlantic country has so much to offer, from scenic destinations like the Algarve, Silver Coast and Madeira, to generous tax breaks for remote workers and online business owners. Not only that, but the cost of living in Portugal is one of Western Europe’s lowest.
For those who move to Portugal from India for the long-term, there’s the option to apply for Portuguese citizenship after just five years – one of the fastest timelines in the European Union.
Having Portuguese Citizenship can bring you some awesome benefits, including more freedom of travel, better scope for tax planning, increased quality of life, and access to a safe haven.
Armed with an EU passport, you’ll benefit from freedom of movement across the entire Eurozone. That includes not just freedom of travel, but the full rights to live, work, study and retire across all countries in the EU.
As you can see, living in Portugal as an Indian is a great idea.
Without any further ado, let’s dive in and look at 11 reasons to move to Portugal from India in 2022.
Are you fed up with constant conflicts in India ? Both religious and political ?
If you move to Portugal from India, you can leave all of those stresses behind.
In fact, Portugal ranks sixth among the safest countries in the world, according to the 2022 Global Peace Index.
Portuguese politics isn’t perfect. But as a foreigner in Portugal, you won’t have to deal with constant anxiety about the country’s political direction.
What’s more, Portugal is politically stable and lacks the toxic religious battles.
And if you’ve had enough, then a move to Portugal from India will make for a refreshing change of pace.
Affordable state healthcare
Europe has long been known for its state healthcare, and Portugal’s no exception.
When you move to Portugal from India and become a resident, you’ll be eligible to access good quality healthcare anywhere in the country – free or low cost (depending on the treatment).
All you need to do is get an SNS number to join the Portuguese healthcare system.
If you still prefer to go private (to get faster treatment), then health insurance in Portugal is very affordable.
Also, health issues don’t get as politicized as they do in India.
Thanks to EU regulations, Portugal has significantly stricter sanitary and animal welfare standards than in India.
For example,chemical washes such as chlorine, growth hormones in animal feed, genetically modified foods that aren’t labeled and pesticides are banned in the EU. That means no chlorinated chicken or high fructose corn syrup.
In some regions, such as Madeira, locally grown produce (such as bananas and avocados) is plentiful and low-cost. Produce that doesn’t grow in Portugal is often brought in from nearby Spain, reducing environmental costs in terms of transportation.
Easy residency visa pathways
For those who want to stay in Portugal for the long term, the two best options are the D7 visa or the Golden Visa. Let’s take a quick look at what each one involves.
The D7 Passive Income Visa
The first is the D7 visa, a popular choice for those retiring in Portugal. It’s often known as the ‘passive income’ or ‘retiree’ visa. But in fact, this flexible immigration pathway goes beyond just passive income or pensions.
The D7 is also a great fit for remote workers and online business owners. Portugal allows those working remotely with an overseas employer to be eligible for D7, as well as online business owners who draw their income in dividends.
The most important factor in getting the D7 is showing proof of income. Depending on the embassy, you’ll also be asked to show proof of having enough savings in the bank to support yourself and any dependents for a period of one year.
Income levels are based on the equivalent of the Portuguese minimum wage, which at €705 per month is one of the lowest in the EU.
The Portuguese government wants to know that D7 applicants can support themselves in Portugal without needing to ask for state funds. If you can do that, and don’t have a criminal record, then the D7 visa is easy to get.
The initial D7 residency is valid for two years. After that, you’ll need to renew your status again for a further three years, which means showing evidence of sufficient income and savings.
Once you hit the five-year residency mark, you’ll become eligible to apply for permanent residency or citizenship.
It’s important to note that getting residency with the D7 visa means that Portugal should be your main home.
You’ll need to become a Portugal tax resident and declare your worldwide income to Portugal every year, although you won’t necessarily have to pay tax on it.
We’ll take a closer look at the tax implications in the next section, after looking at two other important Portugal residency visas.
The Portugal Golden Visa
The second immigration pathway is via Portugal’s residency by investment program, known as the Portugal Golden Visa.
This gives you residency for five years, which will take you all the way to becoming eligible for permanent residency or citizenship.
In return, the government of Portugal wants you to make a significant investment in the country.
Real estate is the most common route, but you can also go for Portugal Golden Visa investment funds.
Funds are becoming an increasingly popular way to get the Golden Visa, due to faster processing time and better overall tax efficiency when compared to real estate.
Portuguese Golden Visa funds are closely regulated by the government and they are subject to frequent audits. Funds mostly invest in variety of real estate renovation projects, along with Portuguese start-ups and later-stage tech companies.
There are also opportunities for you to get the Golden Visa through investment in Portuguese scientific research, art and heritage projects, or simply deposit €1.5 million into a Portuguese bank. However, these routes are less commonly used.
Portugal has one of Western Europe’s lowest costs of living. Hence, Golden Visa real estate investment thresholds can be quite affordable.
They range from €280,000 for rehabilitation projects in low density areas of the country to €500,000 for any sort of real estate in eligible areas of the country.
Please note – Lisbon, Porto, and some of the Algarve region are no longer eligible for Golden Visa investment in 2022.
Perhaps you want to move to Portugal from India with the Golden Visa, but can’t manage it until later this year or beyond.
In that case, the Golden Visa investment funds route is one of the quickest ways to secure a foothold in Portugal – and start your timeline to citizenship – without having to relocate.
But if real estate investment is the route for you, then you might want to consider getting the Golden Visa in Madeira as an interesting alternative to Lisbon, Porto, and the Algarve.
The Portugal HQA Visa
Another investment-based route to residency is the Portugal HQA Visa (‘Highly Qualified Activity’).
This program was introduced in 2019 and is designed for entrepreneurial investors who wish to undertake a research project in Portugal.
The HQA visa program combines two key components:
- Setting up a business in Portugal
- Making an investment in high-value research and development activities at one of Portugal’s universities.
The HQA visa offers a number of key benefits over the Golden Visa:
- Faster processing timeline. Applications are normally approved in around 30 days. This means you’ll get your residence permit in hand faster and start the clock ticking to citizenship more quickly.
- Lower overall cost. The HQA visa requires an investment of just €175,000. That’s significantly cheaper than the lowest threshold for the Golden Visa.
- No-risk refund policy. If your HQA Visa application fails, your entire investment will be refunded in full. That means there’s no risk whatsoever!
- Build a flourishing start-up and establish an EU business presence. Depending on the success of your business idea, you could generate intellectual property which could be patented and become a valuable asset. Your business could make great returns for you in the future.
To discuss the Portugal Golden Visa in more detail, please contact our team.
Generous tax breaks
Let’s now look at what’s on offer in terms of tax benefits when moving to Portugal.
Portugal isn’t a tax haven or even a low tax country. It uses a progressive income tax scheme with a top threshold of 48%.
But one of the main attractions for foreigners who move to Portugal from USA is the non habitual residency (NHR) tax scheme. This name is misleading, because it’s full-time tax residents of Portugal who typically use the NHR scheme.
So, what exactly is Portugal’s NHR scheme and what does it offer?
The NHR grants preferential tax treatment for a period of 10 years to individuals (foreigners or citizens) who haven’t been taxed as a Portuguese tax residents during the preceding five years.
You can apply for NHR status from the moment you register as a tax resident of Portugal.
Benefits include tax exemptions from non-Portuguese sourced income in most categories, including foreign dividends, salary, real estate income and capital gains on property.
NHR status also gives you a flat rate of 20% tax on most Portuguese-sourced income, if it comes from one of the eligible professions.
NHR is extremely beneficial for those moving to Portugal from USA with EU citizenship as their end goal.
The NHR timeline extends far beyond the citizenship timeline, allowing you to work towards Portuguese citizenship while still benefiting from preferential tax treatment.
Cash out cryptocurrency tax-free
Another big benefit of moving to Portugal is Portugal’s tax treatment of income from cryptocurrency investments.
At present (although this is set to change eventually), Portugal doesn’t tax gains on cryptocurrency.
This applies to investments only. Day-trading would likely be classified as work and taxed accordingly.
If you’ve made large gains on crypto in the last few years and are thinking of cashing out, a moving to Portugal from India to become a tax resident could be an interesting solution for you.
Five years to full EU citizenship
Here at My Global Citizenship, our number one goal is helping people to get second passports and residency permits. We’re firm believers in the many benefits of having a Global citizenship, which go beyond those of mere permanent residency.
So how does Portugal measure up when it comes to getting citizenship? The answer: extremely well.
In fact, Portugal has one of the fastest citizenship by naturalization pathways in the whole EU.
Five years is as quick as you’re going to get without having family ties to an EU country.
What’s more, Portugal allows dual citizenship, so you can opt for another country too. Language skills are a requirement for citizenship, but Portugal’s required level is one of the lowest in the EU.
A massive benefit of having a Portuguese passport is full freedom of movement across the EU countries, with the right to live freely, travel, access study at EU-level tuition rates, and retire anywhere you want in Europe.
Fancy spending your golden years in Greece or Italy instead of Portugal? That’s easy to do as an EU citizen.
What’s more, if you get into trouble while traveling abroad, as a Portuguese you’d be entitled to consular assistance from the embassy of any EU country (if Portugal isn’t represented).
But when exactly are those five years counted from? Well, the clock starts when you receive your residency permit.
That’s why it makes sense to get to that point as quickly as possible, avoiding any unnecessary hold-ups or complications.
Access the entire Schengen zone
Remember that 90 days in 180 limit on travel across Europe?
Well, as a resident of Portugal, you’ll be able to reset it by going back to Portugal (instead of leaving the Schengen area altogether).
But once you’re a Portuguese citizen, the limit gets removed completely. You can travel across Europe for as many days as you like.
You can also move freely to any other EU country if you decide that Portugal is no longer the right fit.
Diverse choice of destinations
Portugal has some stunning places to live in. Whether you’re a fan of year-round sunshine, or prefer a cooler climate, Portugal has it all.
Madeira is a great place to opt out of winter permanently with the fabulous Madeira beaches, while Porto offers a similar climate to San Francisco.
The Algarve region is loaded with golden sand beaches and boasts a lively international community, while cosmopolitan Lisbon has everything that a world capital should offer.
Central Portugal has countless historical towns, such as the old university city of Coimbra, and affordable real estate investments that still have plenty of mileage for the Golden Visa in 2022 and beyond.
Tolerant and progressive
Despite its conservative Catholic heritage and recent dictatorship, Portugal has evolved into a progressive and accepting country.
If an LGBTQ foreigner, you’re highly unlikely to experience any form of homophobic violence. People are more likely to just accept you with a relaxed indifference – considering that it’s none of their business anyway.
That’s a good recipe for a peaceful life.
Are you considering leaving India for a new life in Europe?
Portugal’s high quality of life, low cost of living, affordable healthcare, excellent weather and high levels of safety all combine to make it a compelling destination for Indians looking for a better lifestyle.
Will 2022 be the year you finally make the move to Portugal?